tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC October 11, 2012 10:00am-11:00am PDT
gap. and president obama is flyi to florida after playing down romney's rise in the polls and his own poor debate performance. >> governor romney had a good night. i had a bad night. -- >> how bad in its not the first time i've had a bad night. >> and overseas, holding out hope for the school girl now being called an icon of pakistan. we'll get a live report on malala's condition. good day. i'm andrea mitchell live at center college in danville, kentucky. ahead of an -- here we've got a great crowd here already. already for tonight's crucial debate, the vice presidential debate in a presidential campaign that has a razor-thin edge. joining me now is chris cillizza, msnbc contributor and managing editor of post politics.com and chuck todd, nbc's chief white house correspondent, political director and host of "the daily
rundown." >> abe lincoln behind you. >> let me go to chris cillizza first. >> sure. >> back in washington, talk about the stake as head. what are the two burdens, if you will for the two candidates tonight? >> well, look, i mean i think it is relatively obvious that mitt romney had some momentum coming off of his debate performance last week. i think that what joe biden needs to do is blunt that momentum with a sort of a draw or a perceived victory. i think if he loses the debate in the same way that barack obama lost the debate to mitt romney, we'll see the momentum on the republican side pick up. i would say more broadly, andrea, i don't think people usually make their decisions particularly undecided at this point, they don't make their decision on who the vice president is or how they perform in a debate but they do make their decision on the narrative, momentum, what the race looks
and feels like and the vice presidential debate as well as the two vice presidential candidates have a patrol play in that narrative. >> and speaking of the state of the race, we've got latest polling today. came out overnight, the nbc news/"wall street journal"/marist polls, talking about ohio, florida and virginia. chuck, going through these numbers, you see that the race has narrowed, ohio still in edge for the president. >> it is. it's funny, one way to look at it you can say this race appears to be where it was before the convention process, it's basically a close race with the president having some specific advantages in ohio. he had a small advantage preconvention. he continues to have a small advantage. i think two significant things out of the poll. number one, the advantage in the early vote for the president. while there are folks that want to say party i.d. sample in ohio poll, it's too high, too many democrats. one of the reasons it is, there are so many early voters and we found one in five call
themselves that have already voted, that's 2-1 advantage for the democrats. >> you're saying among the efrlly voters 1 out of 5 were democrats? >> no, among all -- everybody we surveyed 1 out of 5 already voted and they were going 2-1 for the president. >> 2-1 for the president. >> these aren't likely voters, they're voters. >> balancing that out are those remaining. >> that's right. >> who are going to vote on election day. >> romney has ten-point advantage. this is the tricky thing the obama campaign has a huge early vote strategy. the romney campaign's doing some early and absentee but that's not the case. older voters aren't as trustworthy, i've been talking to republicans about this, this is sort of one of their issues some of the most die-hard supports, they want to go into the polling booth. they don't want to do it early. some of it is mistrust, it's the same folks that not ready to do online banking, it's understandable, i've done it this way for 40 years i'm going do it this way. >> i've talked to my parents
about this very thing. >> but the other thing to look at, florida and virginia fluid the whole time. president had a soft lead there. i think you see how quickly that can go away. >> and that is probably a result of the post-debate performance and the enthusiasm among republicans, and also the defensiveness among democrats since the debate. >> it is a little bit. one other thing i want to point out. romney seems to have searched national polls than battlegrounds. i think this something i want to keep tracking. i think it's -- it's a little piece of evidence right now and it's been something that you know the president is stronger in battle grounds than any other states. how much of romney's bump is in the other 41 states, if you will? and in the national polls and where in the battlegrounds maybe everything was fought to a draw? that's something that has to be a keconcern to the romney team. >> chris cillizza, when we looked at the narrowing in the battleground polls, especially virginia, we're seeing an impact there also in a very important senate race because there had
been an advantage for tim kaine over george alan there, as the president at the top of the ticket was pulling ahead but now that it's narrowed they are dead even. >> yeah. i think virginia's the one to look at in terms of down ballot effect, because we expect that race between tim kaine and george alan to be so close. i say if barack obama win virginia i'd been hard pressed to see george alan winning the senate race. there are not that many president obama/george alan voter fopz fvote vot voters. remember we're talking about 50, 70, 110,000 votes, maybe that can make the difference in some of the places. so i think people will make a decision between you know, tim kaine and george alan but who turns out, who votes, what the composition electorate look like? it can matter the margins and the margins may be where the raise decided. one quick thing to chuck's point about people who have already
voted versus people who are expected to vote for romney in the ohio poll. look, chuck and i agree on this, any political operative will tell you, we much rather have the vote already cast than well we're going to vote for you. it's the difference between somebody writing you a check and somebody saying, i'll write you a check in 26 days. i get the whole -- >> or the check's in the mail. >> i get the romney argument and they're probably right for all of the reasons chuck talked about in terps of the demographic of the supporters in ohio but they have to be concerned about the numbers in the nbc poll early vote in ohio. nose numbers i thought was the most important number out of the data that came out today. >> chris cillizza, thank you so much. chuck todd, see you later, as well. >> beautiful day. you got the warm weather. four hours ago, it was chilly. >> i was watching -- >> i didn't have the nice sun. >> everything is timing. >> the glow. the glow of andrea mitchell. >> thank you, chuck todd. feeling the love.
what are the expectations coming from the romney campaign for paul ryan's big night tonight? here what happens his senior adviser, dan senor told chuck todd this morning, when it was really cold. >> he has to make the case about the choice in the election, all right? things have been rough over the last four years and it's incumbent on president obama and vice president biden to explain what exactly has happened over the last four years 23 million americans out of work, 47 million americans on food stamps 1 in 6 americans in poverty have them explain the rational for why they deserve a second term. there is a choice as it relates to the budgets, they are running on the romney/ryan agenda. governor romney laid out a plan, his five-point plan for the middle class. >> nbc's ron mott has been covering congressman ryan throughout and traveling with him and interviewing dan senor as well, and joins me now here.
you've been with ryan camp. what is the mood? they must have gotten pumped up. >> totally. >> by the romney performance. now there's a whole expectation game for their own performance tonight. >> they've been playing the lower the expectations saying we're up against a guy very good and that is very true. paul ryan doesn't have the national debate experience that vice president biden does and vice president biden is pretty good at it. and what you just heard dan senor said there, that he needs to stay within himself, basically, and paul ryan's been relaxed, andrea yesterday he went out before we came to danville, ordered a big cup of ice cream, probably worked that off this morning in the gym but he wants to come in and say to the american people, there's a clear contrast here. clear choices between the president and governor romney and things they want to do, and if he does it he'll have a good debate all in all about what he probably can't do is allow the vice president to come in as the cannonball while he doesn't try to match his intensity in some way. this could be a pretty interesting, there could be
sparks. >> we've seen past debates where you have an older veteran political figure like dick cheney, you know, against john edwards and he completely put him away. but you've got paul ryan much younger but seven-term member of congress, used to debating, he's the house republican chairman, he was the runner-up for "time" magazine's man of the year. he's got a lot of experience. i think what we're going to see tonight, ron, and you've been following this so closely is, a real debate over the ryan budget. you know that joe biden is coming primed to go after the first ryan budget, which was more controversial, not the second budget, the second medicare reform proposals that mitt romney embraced. so paul ryan's got to defend his own initial proposals as well as mitt romney's and it's going to be, i think a very combative debate on that. >> probably a little bit of a dance that he's going to have to do. i asked dan senor about the medicare issue and particularly knowing that vice president bidens going to come after him on that. one thing we don't hear on
stump, paul ryan talks about the president's flan takes $716 billion out of medicare to pay for at fordable care act that they call obama care. >> $716 billion, it's in both budgets. >> cuts are in paul ryan's budget but the folks on his -- that come out to the rallies don't hear that part of it. so tonight he's going to get pushed on that by the moderator maybe by the vice president. interesting to see how he answer that will question. >> and this is going to be a seated debate, the same format, though, the same opening questions and 15 minute and different segments and two-minute closings. they'll be seated, though, at a table with the moderator, martha raditz from abc news. >> a application of foreign policy and domestic issues and joe biden with a lot of experience on the foreign policy side, if there's an achille's heel, perhaps the president's team thinks that what it is for paul ryan. paul ryan believes that the obama economy and the economic policies are joe biden's
achille's heel. this is going to be interesting tonight. >> romneyfully and ryan the campaigns putting ow attack line after attack line as recently as last night after the very contentious republican-led hearing on benghazi. so they are clearly going to try to go after the obama foreign policy on what happened in libya as well. ron mott, it's going be so much fun. >> looking forward to it. >> good to see you. a live look now at the stage where joe biden and paul ryan are facing off here in danville, kentucky. see the stage, they'll get walk-throughs later on. the same look, the same eagle. the same red carpet, blue backdrop that we've seen for decades with the presidential e debate commission. we'll talk to senator pat toomey how the deficit is going to play a role in the depate. he was a member of the super committee. plus memorable moments from past vice presidential debates like this one from 1988. >> senator, i served with jack
kennedy, i knew jack kennedy. jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you're no jack kennedy. hey. hey eddie. i brought your stuff. you don't have to do this. yes i do. i want you to keep this. it'd be weird. take care. you too. [ sighs ] so how did it go? he's upset. [ male announcer ] spend less time at gas stations with best in class fuel economy. it's our most innovative altima ever. ♪ try this... bayer? this isn't just a headache. trust me, this is new bayer migraine. [ male announcer ] it's the power of aspirin plus more in a triple action formula to relieve your tough migraines. new bayer migraine formula.
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we're expecting that paul ryan's budget and the budget cuts, medicare reform, taxes, are going to be major issues tonight when the candidates who have been debating those very questions in separate stump speeches, now they get to do in person face-to-face. joining me now, pennsylvania senator pat toomey, served on last year's super committee to try to tackle the deficit and of
course has been a budget hawk throughout your tenure in the house and now the senate. thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> great to have you here. what should paul ryan say when joe biden goes after him on how devastating, these are biden's words, devastating the budget cuts would on discretionary domestic spending if he sticks to the defense entitlement and tax postures that he's outlined? >> well, a few things, andrea. one is the simple fact that over the ten-year budget window of the ryan budget, spending on average grows yfr year. it grows by 3% a year. so most americans -- >> not every category. >> true. but most people think that a government that's at a record size as a percentage of compete, the government that has doubled in spending in the last ten years, and one that's going to continue to grow that somehow that's a draconian cut in spending i don't think people are going to buy it. the other important point that
paul ryan's going to want to make, we've got a serious fiscal problem on hour hands. some people in washington pretend not to notice that but trillion dollar deficits year in and year out, debt that has reached 100% of total economic output this is unsustainable. paul ryan put a plan on the table. you don't have to necessarily agree with every last element in there t. but acknowledge it is a thoughtful, thorough, comprehensive plan that gets our economy growing and puts on a path to balance. where's the president's plan? his plan is so unserious not a single democrat in either the house or the senate voted for it when it was on the for in. >> why did mitt romney run away from the paul ryan budget plan? >> mitt romney put paul ryan on the ticket. that's not running away from the plan. >> but i mean -- he didn't embrace the ryan budget. it was too tough for him perhaps? >> correct me if i'm wrong, my understanding governor romney has been complimentary of the ryan budget plan and recognizes that we need to make reforms so
that the big entitlement programs will be there for the next generation we need to tighten the belt on discreti discretionary spending. i disagree. >> mitt romney's tax proposals, because he has said that he can cut taxes without blowing up the deficit, without being deficit neutral, and at the same time keep defense spending. >> yeah. >> increase the defense budget. how does that work? >> governor romney said he can lower marginal tax rates and generate offsetting revenue so we don't increase the side of the deficit. >> how do you generate that? >> you reduce the number of write-offs and loopholes in some combinations. >> which would you reduce? he's not been specific. >> he's provided more specificity than the president and any candidate. >> he's not specific about which deductions. >> one of the things he's said is a mechanism that limits val i of all itemized deductions might be one way to go. that's a way that you take a
whole basket of all of the itemized deductions. >> 17,000. >> maybe it's some other number. but andrea, this is very specific. he's called for a cross the board marginal rate reductions, specified amount, 20%, insisted no increase in taxes on the middle class, that's one of the parameters, he said we're going to offset all of it by reducing value of the deductions and he's specified one of the mechanisms that will allow him to do that. i think if you went further than that -- >> but he hasn't been specific which deductions. >> when you say you're going to limit the value of all itemized deductions that's a specific plan. and it's one vetted. and you absolutely can achieve the numerical goals that he set out. i think he's taken the right approach. at end details get negotiated with congress. >> i wanted to ask you about something that mitt romney said to "the des moines register" on abortion, an important issue to you. he said there is no legislation with regards to abortion that i'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda. what's your reaction to that?
>> well, i think in further clarified that and mentioned one of the things that he does intend to do, as president. >> on his behalf, a day later said, governor romney would of course support legislation aim at providing greater protections for life and did say he would eliminate the mexico city language -- >> no he would reinstate it. let's be cleeshg the poar, the spreents american tax dollars going overseas to pay for abortions. president obama changed that poli policy. >> contraception for abortion. the point is, is he saying one thing to iowa and another thing in the clarification? >> no, he's been very clear. in fact, technically, what he says is exactly right because the reinstation -- reinstatement of mexico city policy can happen been i executive order and doesn't require legislation. he was not aware of legislation
that was necessary. >> is pennsylvania now too much out of reach for paul -- for romney and paul ryan in there's a new poll, "philadelphia inquirer," eight-point spread. >> it's absolutely not. look what happened in to 10, less than two years ago i was elected statewide, tom corbett elected governor, republicans control the state house, senate senate, 52 out of 67 county governments, 12 out of the 18 house seats are held by republicans. you watch, mitt romney's going to carry pennsylvania. >> if mitt romney carries pennsylvania this is a landslide like you haven't seen. >> we'll celebrate early tuesday november 6th. >> pat toomey, good to see you. thank you very much, senator. coming up -- will joe biden play the bulldog tonight? will paul ryan defend his budget plan? count on that. we'll be talking to politico's maggie laborer ham and mark halperin. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc.
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in their debate tonight, the only debate they're going to have, pressure is on joe biden to do a better job than president obama did last week in denver. the challenge for paul ryan is to defend his own somewhat controversial budget cuts and mitt romney's often different proposals. that is a big challenge. joining me now, maggie haberman and mark halperin, also of course "time" magazine's he editor the large. welcome. first of all i wanted to play something that happened on cnbc. steve leaseman, senior economics correspondent questioning alan simpson, passionate about the failure of the administration and in fact paul ryan who voted against it and was on the simpson-bowles commission and rest of the teams in congress,
you know, to embrace the simpson-bowles outline at least. this is likely to come up tonight as well. he is here because he's a member of the presidential debate commission, has been for decades. let's watch. >> i asked you to talk to romney and ryan what would you say to them -- >> i would say -- >> that you have concerns about. >> we have a leaderless government and they lead. they can govern. this gentleman can't govern. he can't governor earn. he's doing politics day and night. >> alan simpson being alan simpson. i've covered him for decades, mark you have as well. but it's certainly gives the republicans a little bit of a talking point since alan simpson is someone the president points to as being, you know, the simpson-bowles plan that i appointed. >> if you like me to feign shocked alan simpson said something newsworthy and outrageous, i will.
some say he shouldn't be in that mode on the day of the debate. that's the republicans' increase lig full-floated argument why the president should be replaced as the economy's gotten better it's harder for them to make a straight economic argument and simpson is giving voice to what you hear a lot not just the romney campaign, it's about leadership overseas, leadership at home and alan simpson says -- said in his colorful manner. >> pithy way. >> maggie you've been writing for politico on five things to watch tonight. what are you watching for tonight? >> the main thing i'm watching for is how joe biden performs we all are. joe biden has gotten this reputation, somewhat deserved as a gaffe machine but that's not what he does in debates. in debates he's more skilled, controlled. a huge stage for paul ryan. we're going to be looking for how joe biden addresses the issue of seniors and medicare, we're going to be look at how paul ryan carries those attacks and how he's able defend the
romney/ryan ticket as opposed to his own positions and his own statements. romney's been modulating a little bit or saying some things that were somewhat garbled on abortion this week. i think you're going to hear a lot about that tonight. >> medicare, abortion, i think benghazi. >> i i agree. >> joe biden, former chairman of the foreign relation committee and this very strong attack from the republican on leading the committee that had a four-hour hearing pillaring the state department yesterday. >> an area where anticipation had been joe biden would be able to press a grav as it. benghazi complicated that and you'll see paul ryan hit that. >> "time" magazine, your magazine out, and preprized k k pictures they took for the runner-up when paul ryan was runner-up for man of the year. do we need more proof than this man likes to work out? >> the man's in good shape. good photos.
very colorful and i think people will see a side of paul ryan that not all of us have got tonight see unless we're members of the house gym. guy's in good shape as is joe biden by the way. >> he's a runner. mark, i know you've probably done your major workout this morning when you arrived overnight. >> i did 25 minutes on the elliptic elliptical. >> that is major. >> kel melman who managed burns re-election campaign said in a presidential year three months out you can only do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. that's ken's rule. he won 2004. i'm going with that. >> you'll win, that's good. >> what about ryan defending his record? >> i think he's going to be extremely well prepared for lines of attack that joe biden's going to have. but again -- i think that paul ryan's going to do pretty well. he is aggressive. he likes to engage. he likes to fight. we've seen that in the house for a while. >> i think it's going to be played to both of their strengths that they're seated because they have a personal
relationship. they kind of like each other, as strange as that may seem in the political world. >> yes. >> when seated you're not as combative. >> that's right. >> it's a different dynamic. >> very conversational. it's amazing people aren't questioning whether ryan will be nervous. he's a poised guy. so much national experience. dine think anybody thinks he's going to go in and have a deer in the headlight moment. >> people are talking about him running for president. thank you so much. mark halperin, maggie haberman. we'll get the latest on the outspoken school girl whose activism made her the target of the taliban. plus, will tonight's vice presidential debate move the race in the critical swing states? we'll talk to democratic caucus vice chair, coming up on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. >> who am i? why am i here? two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf.
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now on "andrea mitchell reports," the state department is now condemning the deadly attack on a yem is in security officer who worked in the u.s. embassy today. he was killed near his home by a masked gunman on a motorcycle. the killing bore hallmarks of an attack by the al qaeda branch in yemen. standard & poor's lowered spain's debt rating to just about junk bond state us. the agency downgraded country to bbb palesti minus for its limit toy deal with economic challenges. the slash is putting pressure on leaders to ask for a european union bailout. nobel prize in literature awarded to mo yan. the committee praises writer for his style of ha lose naer to
realism. he wrote his latest novel "life and death are wearing me out in only 43 days." should be praise ford his speed. while we have natitude, the talk in baseball, raul ibanez making a million a year brought in to pinch-hit for the $275 million man after a-rod yanked, not only hit a home run he did it again a walkoff home run in the 12th to win the game. yankees triumph but not because of their payroll. pakistan, 14-year-old malala yousufzai has now been transferred to a military hospital where she remains in critical condition. these are the latest pictures released by the pakistani army and advocate for education and girl's rights. shot tuesday by the taliban,
they said for refusing to remain silent on girls and women's rights. across pakistan, her story has become a rallying point with protesters. now taking to streets. also on social media, expressing outrage about her shooting. and nbc is in kabul, afghanistan, and has been bringing malala's story home to us and around the world through the broadcasts and all of the networks. what is her medical condition and what is her prognosis? >> reporter: andrea, we're seeing malala today for the first time since that attack, just three days ago in the video provided by the pakistan army. just three days after that attack, there are already encouraging signs. signs of improvement, doctors say. you mentioned today she is stable enough to be airlifted interest the hospital showered to the sister city. doctors decided do that because the other facility has a specialized pediatric care unit. anyone who has seen her speak can be impressed by her bavry
and pla tur maturity. the critical care unit with a pediatric focus will be better for her. she's not out of the woods. she's unconscious, purposefully keeping her that way. she's on full ventilator support to continue breathing. however, they say they are comfortable enough to say that her chances of survival, they can say, are now 70%. so encouraging signs just three days after that brutal attack on this young girl. >> the latest on malala's condition, thank you very much? the last time a republican vice presidential candidate squared off against joe biden on a debate stage, the candidate had a disarming greeting. >> can i call you joe? >> you can call me joe. >> barack obama and senator biden you said no to everything -- >> it was the greeting we were talking about there. will paul ryan now try that tonight? joining me now, congressman
xavier becerra democratic caucus vice chair representing the obama campaign. welcome, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> talking to senator pat toomey just earlier in the program and his defense of the ryan budget is, at least it's a budget, it's more specific than anything the president has presented, the president was rejected by his own senate, democrats in the senate. what is your response to the republican criticisms of the failure of democrats to enact a budget even when they had control of both houses? >> neither charge is true because the president has put forward a four-year budget that would reduce the deficits by over $4 trillion and, secondly, the budget that senator toomey mentioned was not the president's budget. it was the republican's clean version of what the president was going to do. let the president do his own budget. don't claim you're going to do for him. he put out a plan for ten dwreerz years to reduce the deficit. he's got a jobs bill sit in congress helping create 2
million jobs and the president's ready to act. the last thing the senate did before it left was to kill the senators on the republican side killed the bill to provide job opportunities for veterans, returning from iraq and afghanistan. so it's difficult to hear some of the claims because the president's been trying to push the jobs agenda for four years and it's tough when republicans have put obstacles up to getting the bills passed. >> why didn't the president fully embrace simpson-bowles when he had the opportunity? he patteded them on the back and said thank you. >> he took much of what was in simpson bowls and create ten-year $4 trillion reduction plan much of what you saw in simpson-bowles -- >> he missed the moment. there was a moment when something might have been accomplished. >> remember, he said, i'm going to take the idea of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion and show you what i would do and he presented that and he gave it to the congress, and the republicans would not allow a vote to take place on that legislation. but the president has put
forward a number of proposals. i mentions the jobs bill that's sitting. we have a transportation bill which would put thousands of construction workers back to worker where republicans held up the bill though the senate passed continue i bipartisan vote. >> do you think joe biden should make an issue out of abortion now that mitt romney in iowa to "the des moines register" said that there was no legislation on abortion on his agenda and then clarified that the next day saying he would eliminate or restore the mexico city language and stop federal funding for contraception and family planning? >> here's where i believe the vice president's going to go right at paul ryan and mitt romney, because it's curious. it's not clear if the romney campaign wants to allow paul ryan be paul ryan or have him be a mini mitt because what we've seen over the last several weeks is that they've asked paul ryan not to talk about his budget, ask paul ryan not to give specifics and reality is when you hide your record and you hide the facts it's like hiding
your soul. the american public are a right know who wants to be president or vice president you've got 0 reveal not only your record but your soul. >> joe biden tagged for saying things like the middle class has been buried for the last four years. >> what the vice president was trying to tell us, four years ago, what were the job numbers? >> if he said that that would have been a different point the middle class has been buried since the bush years we're climbing out 5 million new jobs in last 31 months, making great progress but we have to keep going. >> were you disappointed with the president's performance? why didn't they he bring these things up. >> i was disappointed mitt romney -- the president tried to speak directly to the american public. mitt romney was there ready to kick sand in the face of his opponent. perhaps this debate will give us a chance to find the real facts,
maybe paul ryan now with 90 minutes will have a chance to do the math on his plan. but we need to get down to the basics and let's have them reveal their soul, talk about the record and reveal their soul. >> congressman, thank you very much. joe biden has now just wrapped up his walk-through here on the debate stage in danville. coming up, will joe be joe tonight and is that going to give the campaign the obama campaign, the boost that it needs? stay with us. >> i'm at the senate most tuesdays. first time i ever met you when you walked on the stage tonight. food, meet flavor. flavor, meet food. it's time for swanson flavor boost. concentrated broth in easy to use packets. mix it into skillet dishes, for an instant dose of... hell-o! [ female announcer ] get recipes at flavorboost.com.
first to you, michael, you know joe biden really well. what is the challenge here for joe biden? we know that sometimes when he gets wound up on the stump he goes off message. but as maggie was saying earlier, in debates he's been really focused. is that the joe biden you expect to show up tonight? >> i do. i expect joe biden to show up tonight to try to prevent congressman ryan from wiley mischaracter iing the record the obama/biden record over last four years and try to hold congressman wryan to specifics. congressman ryan will have to reconcile his own budget plan and the rapidly evolving romney/ryan budget and tax plan. a lot of open questions there. i expect vice president biden's going to come out ready to hold his feet to the fire on specifics. and congressman ryan has other challenges, you know? he's not well-known on the national stage, so this will be a new introduction for him. and he has to pass the commander in chief threshold so there will
be foreign policy questions tonight. he'll have to hold his own there. he also has to energize conservatives but also appeal to moderates, and that's something that i think the ryan/romney ticket has been having trouble with in recent days specifically around women's reproductive health and other issues. should be an interesting night. >> michael, is this a case where the vice presidential candidates are worried about protecting the talking points for mitt romney and president obama? are they defending their own records in the case of wrien in particular or do they talk of only try to refocus it to the. of the ticket? >> well, i think for biden the challenge is very similar to what dick cheney had in 2004. i remember well, president bush had not done well in the first debate and it was important for cheney to break the circuit, give people something to talk about, other than a bad first
debate. and i think is one of the main goals tonight, because of the way that barack obama failed by being too passive, biden's going have to be aggressive tonight. he's going to have to buck up the base of the democratic party. that's not easy. he needs to be scrappy without being nasty. he's capable of that, but it's not an easy calibration. >> and in fact, according to a poll, mike feldman, 40% of those polled by pew said that they thought paul ryan would do better than joe biden at 34%. so there are some better expectations even for paul ryan at least in the one poll than for joe biden. >> right. but what we saw the other night, double-edged sword and the expectation burden was on the president. 2-1 margin people expected governor romney to barely be able to complete a sentence and of course when he did deliver, what i think fairly was a very good debate performance, expectations benefited him. the revert is true tonight. i think people expect a lot of
paul ryan and oddly, i think expectations are lowered for vice president biden. i know i'm supposed to try to change that in the interview but to be honest about it, expectations are artificially low for vice president biden partly because of the work that the gop has done. you saw in the convention in the weeks since slamming vice president biden, really riding him very hard for his performance. and i think that's had the unintended consequence of lowering expectations for him for tonight. >> and at the same time, mike, how surprised were you at president obama's performance? when we talk about expectations but i don't think any of us thought that the president of the united states would come in and seem so ill prepared and also so disengaged or ill at ease in the visual impact of it. how surprising that is to you? you've been around them a long time. >> well you know -- >> sorry, michael. go ahead. >> i forgot you're both
michaels. >> exactly. >> i yield the floor. >> i wasn't surprised because barack obama had not debate in four years and not forced in a primary context to shape his arguments as offensive argumentser defensive his offensive arguments, his defensive arguments, that's something you usually get in the primary process. that was something true of bush in 2004. there were some challenges there. i would have agreed with that expectations assessment with biden before the first debate, but now i think that biden has significant pressure in this debate to kind of try to break this cycle, this downward slide and to show that the campaign has spirit and fight in it. that, i think, raises the expectations on biden in a little bit in a way that wouldn't have been true before the first debate. >> and mike feldman, do you want to take a shot at that, the sort of strange performance and the fact that democrats were really
discouraged by the performance of the president last time around? >> look, i think the president has spoken to this. i think both candidates tonight have the added burden of trying to energize their bases and give a good performance. it's often said that not a lot comes out of the vice presidential debate, they're not very consequential in the overall scheme of things. certainly if there's a gaffe or a flub or something we're talking about next week, if we spend most of the time talking about the individual candidates and their records and not the ticket, that's a problem. i expect both candidates to come out tonight, they have a lot at stake. i think the race is relatively even. it's restored back to where it's been mostly for the last year, a relatively even race with the president have a slight advantage. this is a big one. millions of people will be watching tonight. >> mike feldman, thank you so much. michael gerson, thank you for joining us today. and as you can hear, they're
rehearsing for tonight behind me. what political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? that's next right here on "andrea mitchell report." rogaine? well, i'll admit it. i was skeptical at first. but after awhile even my girlfriend noticed a difference. [ male announcer ] rogaine is proven to help stop hair loss. and for 85% of guys, it regrew hair. save up to 42% now at rogaine.com.
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welcome back. my colleague tamara hall now joins me with a look ahead at her show right here. >> it's interesting, andrea. the last time "news nation" was on the road we were in the hurricane in new orleans. we're in the political hurricane. first and only vice presidential debate. >> it's a lot better here. >> the big crowd behind us. we have chris matthews at the top of ""news nation."" i can't wait to talk to chris. we know his legendary reaction. we'll see what he says about vice president joe biden.
what does he need to bring to the table as well as congressman paul ryan. how does he defend mitt romney's record on the budget as well as abortion. we'll talk a lot about that with chris and a huge lineup of guests. >> i will be watching. it's great to have you here. >> thank you. >> and that does it for this edition of "andr"andrea mitchel report reports"." "news nation" right here. she's next to me. see you later. little did i know that one week later i wasn't smoking. "news nation" right here. she's next to me. see you later. "news nation" rig. she's next to me. see you later. "news nation" rig. she's next to me. see you later.
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